Tenant Workplace Guide – Vol 1
As you prepare to return to the workplace, Adgar Canada is committed to serve our tenants by providing and fostering a safe environment and on-going support. This ‘Tenant Workplace Guide’ provides recommendations and suggestions for you to consider and in doing so follows best practices from our industry leaders and key insights from the Federal and Provincial Government as well as respective health organizations in Canada.
Employers are encouraged to follow the direction of the Provincial Government to urge employees to stay at home and follow remote work policies to minimize face-to-face contact. As stay-at-home restrictions are eased over the next several weeks and months, this guide will assist you in preparing for the return of your employees to the workplace.
Please continue to stay informed on the latest government updates. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html.
PREPARING FOR THE RETURN OF YOUR EMPLOYEES
Employee Health & Wellbeing
- Provide on-going support for employees struggling to maintain mental wellness. Here are tips for managers and human resource professionals in supporting employees in staying connected to the workplace and each other:
- Show compassion and be available to employees
- Stay connected using online communication and meeting tools
- Encourage online training
- For more information please visit Mental Health Works (MHW) a national social enterprise of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) https://www.mentalhealthworks.ca/mental-health-workplace-accommodation-guide-managers-staff/.
- Encourage self-reporting and self-isolation policies with guidance on what to do if employees contract the virus or come in contact with someone who has contracted the virus. For more information please visit the Self-Isolation Guide from Public Health Ontario https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/ncov/factsheet-covid-19-guide-isolation-caregivers.pdf?la=en.
Maintaining Communication with Employees
- Provide regular internal communication and demonstrate how the business is following Government Guidelines and prioritizing employee safety/wellness.
- Encourage senior leaders to be involved in communications to employees.
- Provide guidance of new policy changes as they evolve and where to find this information.
- Encourage employee feedback and participation to generate buy-in with new work practices.
- Consider using a wide range of communication channels and materials – email, portals, text messages, video, virtual events, digital displays, social media etc. For more guidance on communication channels please visit https://www.contactmonkey.com/blog/internal-communications-tools.
- Allowing flexible hours to avoid rush hours, encourage alternate forms of transportation, remove anxiety for employees to allow them to be ‘late’. For more information on flexible work arrangements please visit the Canadian Centre for Occupation Healthy and Safety https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/psychosocial/flexible.html.
- Provide suggestions of commute alternatives. Suggestions for public transport might include:
- Avoiding overcrowded busses or trains by waiting for less crowded vehicles
- Wearing face masks and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at all times
- Maintaining safe distance from other passengers as much as possible
- Using hand sanitizer when entering and exciting public transportation
- Wiping surfaces with disinfecting wipes prior to touching them if possible
- If ride sharing: wear PPE
- Use solo transit modes such as bikes, scooters, cars and sanitize shared touchpoints
For more information on community-based measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Canada please visit https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/health-professionals/public-health-measures-mitigate-covid-19.html.
Transitioning Employees - Who Returns to Work?
- Encourage a gradual return to the workplace by narrowing down priority teams and identifying remote workers.
- Consider staggering priority teams back to the office.
- Encourage employees to adopt a phased-in approach to returning to the workplace.
- Coordinate collaborative work units to maximize effectiveness of coming to the office.
Stay at Home Policy
- Encourage a Stay at Home Policy when employees are sick. For more information concerning telecommuting policies and procedures please visit https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/policies/pages/telecommuting_policy.aspx.
- Encourage transparency between managers and employees if any employee does not feel comfortable returning to the workplace or is feeling ill, even beyond the symptoms of COVID-19.
- Consider creating a plan to notify clients, vendors and anyone else who has come in contact with an employee confirmed to have COVID-19. For more information on Supervisor/Manager Responsibilities to confirmed COVID-19 cases by the Government of Canada please visit https://www.inspection.gc.ca/covid-19/latest-updates-for-cfia-employees/what-to-do-if-you-are-exposed-to-a-confirmed-covid/eng/1584891969317/1584892115780.
Schedules, Breaks & Late Policies
- Stagger start times to ensure social distancing is possible and to help avoid excessive wait times for elevators and entrance points.
- Strongly discourage a blanket work start time policy of 8-9am. Consider staggering start times over a three-to-four-hour period.
- Consider more flexible schedules for employees returning to the workplace to allow for tardiness due to potential transit and elevator capacity limitations.
- Consider adjusting break times to reduce congestion in kitchens, cafeterias, breakrooms, PATH, food courts and common areas.
SOCIAL DISTANCING & OFFICE ETIQUETTE FOR EMPLOYEES AT THE WORKPLACE
- Determine restricted zones in the office such as shared collaboration areas and clearly label or communicate them as ‘do not use’.
- Designate and signpost the direction of foot-traffic in main circulation paths. Strongly consider one-way circulation routes through the workplace.
- Consider marking increments of locally acceptable social distance on floors where queues could form.
- Designate one entrance and exit (while not contravening building code) to ensure employees are following physical distancing protocols.
- For more information on creating custom signage for your office needs, please visit https://www.mississaugasigncompany.com/coronavirus-signage-new-toronto-on/, https://www.posterone.com, https://www.tph.ca.
- Consider creating a customized floorplan to help employees understand new social distancing protocols. https://www.fastoffice.com/adgar-safer-space.
- Consider reducing your office density by encouraging employees to occupy every second workstation.
- Consider eliminating shared workstations and collaboration zones and encourage single use desk spaces.
- Encourage employees to hold large meetings online or remove (at least) every second chair from boardrooms.
- Prohibit shared use of small rooms by groups and convert to single occupant use only.
- Consider limiting each meeting to 4-6 people, depending on room size and PPE etiquette.
- Develop new practices on kitchen and meal preparation areas, which may include some temporary measures such as:
- Encourage occupants to bring food and beverage items from home and manage them individually
- Minimize common touchpoints by removing shared coffee pots/kettles/other kitchen equipment
- Eliminate open food items
- Increase frequency of cleaning appliances such as refrigerators and microwaves
Office Operations & Cleaning
- Encourage the use of PPE where applicable. For more information regarding Workplace PPE Supplier Directory in Ontario visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/workplace-ppe-supplier-directory?page=2#no-back.
- Suggest that all employees follow a “Clean Desk Policy”.
- In order to allow for proper sanitization between users, consider providing your employees with disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer.
- Encourage the use of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes whenever possible.
- Prohibit employees from sharing headsets, keyboards and mouses.
- Restrict the use of shared conference phones and encourage the use of personal mobile phone or laptop softphones for teleconferences.
- Consider supplying employees with personal pencil cases to discourage sharing of any desk equipment. https://www.staples.ca/search?query=pencil%20case.
- Encourage electronic sharing and reduced printing.
- Consider enrolling in Electronic Document Signing platform https://www.docusign.ca, https://www.pandadoc.com, https://signrequest.com/#/.
General Hygiene Etiquette
- Encourage strong personal hygiene and infection control practices when employees are in the workplace
- Promote frequent hand washing
- Encourage employees not to touch their face
- Promote good respiratory etiquette; cover your mouth and turn away from others when coughing or sneezing
- Safely dispose of PPE
- Avoid common touchpoints if possible
- For more information and a downloadable poster on ‘Stopping the spread of germs at work’ please visit https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/tools-and-samples/Pages/stop-the-spread-of-germs-at-work.aspx.
Social Distancing Restroom Etiquette
- Encourage employees to remain six feet apart while using the facilities. If a distance of six feet cannot be maintained, wait outside the restroom until it is safe to do so.
- Encourage hand washing immediately after using the facilities.
- Consider making masks or other PPE mandatory in washrooms.
OTHER SUGGESTIONS FOR TENANTS AT THE WORKPLACE
Please Consider the Following:
Guest & Visitor Policies
- Restrict visitors whenever possible. Consider limiting access to certain categories of site visitors such as vendors, contractors, large groups of people, family and friends etc.
- Coordinate after hours deliveries with your Property Manager.
- Consider restricting the general public’s access to the workplace. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/preventing-covid-19-workplace-employers-employees-essential-service-workers.html.
- Consider designating a single contact to receive packages.
- Arrange building lobby package pick-up/drop-off point, if possible.
- Create a hands-free package pick-up/ drop-off point in your suite, wherever possible.
Travelling & Site Meetings
- Procedures for out-of-office meetings, site visits, events etc. should include common questions you should always ask yourself as well as participants to ensure safety of employees is the first priority;
- Confirm that this visit is 100% required and cannot be done online.
- Practice physical distancing and minimize people required to attend. Include some members via technology
- Wear PPE if possible
- Plan travel and route accordingly
- Consider adding lockers or individuals hooks for employees to store and secure their own items separately from others. https://www.staples.ca.
- Discourage shared closet space and encourage impervious clothing covers such as dry-cleaning bags for individuals to cover/contain their own coats, jackets or PPE.